Safed in Israel

Monday, 23 August 2021 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Union for the Mediterranean
Reading Time:  5 minutes

© Team Venture/cc-by-sa-4.0

© Team Venture/cc-by-sa-4.0

Safed is a city in the Northern District of Israel. Located at an elevation of 900 metres (2,953 ft), Safed is the highest city in Galilee, a region that Israel (in the north) and Lebanon (in the south) are reluctant to share, and in Israel. Due to its high elevation, Safed experiences warm summers and cold, often snowy, winters. Its mild climate and scenic views have made Safed a popular holiday resort frequented by Israelis and foreign visitors. In 2019 it had a population of 36,000.

Safed has been identified with Sepph, a fortified town in the Upper Galilee mentioned in the writings of the Roman Jewish historian Josephus. The Jerusalem Talmud mentions it as one of five elevated spots where fires were lit to announce the New Moon and festivals during the Second Temple period. Safed attained local prominence under the Crusaders, who built a large fortress there in 1168. It was conquered by Saladin 20 years later, and demolished by his grandnephew al-Mu’azzam Isa in 1219. After reverting to the Crusaders in a treaty in 1240, a larger fortress was erected, which was expanded and reinforced in 1268 by the Mamluk sultan Baybars, who developed Safed into a major town and the capital of a new province spanning the Galilee. After a century of general decline, the stability brought by the Ottoman conquest in 1517 ushered in nearly a century of growth and prosperity in Safed, during which time Jewish immigrants from across Europe developed the city into a center for wool and textile production and the mystical Kabbalah movement. It became known as one of the Four Holy Cities of Judaism. As the capital of the Safad Sanjak, it was the main population center of the Galilee, with large Muslim and Jewish communities.

© Matic18/cc-by-sa-3.0 © Beny Shlevich/cc-by-sa-3.0 Former caravanserai, currently a community centre © Beny Shlevich/cc-by-sa-3.0 Red Mosque © Bukvoed/cc-by-3.0 Street art © Yoav Dothan © Team Venture/cc-by-sa-4.0
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Former caravanserai, currently a community centre © Beny Shlevich/cc-by-sa-3.0
In the 1950s and 1960s, Safed was known as Israel’s art capital. An artists’ colony established in the old Arab quarter was a hub of creativity that drew artists from around the country, among them Yitzhak Frenkel, Yosl Bergner, Moshe Castel, Menachem Shemi, Shimshon Holzman and Rolly Sheffer. In honor of the opening of the Glitzenstein Art Museum in 1953, the artist Mane Katz donated eight of his paintings to the city. Today the area contains a large number of galleries and workshops run by individual artists and art vendors. There are several museums and galleries that function in the historical homes of major Israeli artists such as the Frenkel Frenel Museum and the Beit Castel gallery.

In the 1960s, Safed was home to the country’s top nightclubs, hosting the debut performances of Naomi Shemer, Aris San, and other singers. Nowadays, Safed has been hailed as the klezmer capital of the world, hosting an annual Klezmer Festival that attracts top musicians from around the globe.

The Citadel Hill, in Hebrew HaMetzuda, rises east of the Old City and is named after the huge Crusader and then Mamluk castle built there during the 12th and 13th centuries, which continued in use until being totally destroyed by the 1837 earthquake. Its ruins are still visible. On the western slope beneath the ruins stands the former British police station, still pockmarked by bullet holes from the 1948 war.

Read more on TouristIsrael.com – Safed, Haaretz, 19 July 2022: A Visit to a Jewish Disneyland in Northern Israel, Wikivoyage Safed and Wikipedia Safed (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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